What is a family violence intervention order?
A family violence intervention order is a court order that protects victims who are affected by an act of family violence. The person the intervention order will protect is called the affected family member. The person the intervention order is made against is called the respondent.
What is family violence?
The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Victoria) (“The Act”) provides that family violence occurs when a person engages in abusive behaviour towards a family member. It involves behaviour that controls or dominates a person and causes them to fear for their own safety or wellbeing or that of another person.
Under the Act, behaviour constituting family violence includes:
- physical or sexual abuse;
- emotional or psychological abuse;
- economic abuse;
- coercion; and
- any other behaviour that controls or dominates a family member.
Family violence also includes behaviour that exposes a child to any of the behaviours outlined above.
Some examples of family violence are slapping, hitting, punching, sexual assault, verbal threats, derogatory taunts, harassments, withholding necessary financial support, and deliberately isolating someone from their friends and family.
Who is a family member?
Under the Act, family members are:
- spouses, de facto or domestic partners – whether there is a sexual relationship or not;
- parents and children, including children of an intimate partner;
- relatives by birth, marriage or adoption; and
- persons treated as family – such as guardians or carers.
Who can apply for a family violence intervention order?
An application for a family violence intervention order may be made by the following persons:
- a police officer;
- an affected family member;
- if the affected family member is an adult, any other person with the consent of the affected family member;
- if the affected family member is a child, the parent of the child, or any other person with the written consent of a parent of the child, or with leave of the court;
- if the affected family member has a guardian, the guardian or any other person, with the leave of the court.
Furthermore, a child who is an affected family member, may make an application provided they are 14 years or older and have leave of the court.
The court may make an interim order if a person has applied to the court for a family violence intervention order and the court is satisfied that an interim order is necessary, on the balance of probabilities, to ensure:
- the safety of the affected family member; or
- to preserve any property of the affected family member; or
- to protect an affected family member who is a child who has been subjected to family violence committed by the respondent.
The court may also make an interim order if the parties to the proceedings have consented to, or do not oppose, the making of an interim order.
Granting of family violence protection order
The court has the power and discretion to make a final order if the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has committed family violence against the affected family member and is likely to continue to do so or do so again.
While an intervention order is technically a civil remedy and not a criminal charge, if a person breaches an intervention order, the offender may face criminal charges involving serious repercussions.
Get legal advice
If you are a victim of family violence or an application for an intervention order has been made against you, it is important you obtain legal advice to help you understand your legal rights and obligations.
Please contact our family law or litigation departments if you would like to discuss your particular circumstances on 9870 9870.